Putin wants Russia to increase its use of metals to counter sanctions

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“To support domestic metal demand, we need to initiate long-term projects and programs that will have an effect on the whole economy,” he said.

Russia is a major producer of metals, including aluminum, nickel, copper and steel, with annual exports worth tens of billions of dollars.

The industry provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of people, usually in places where it is difficult to find other jobs.

It’s also a vital sector during wartime, when Russia lost more than 500 tanks, 100 APCs and hundreds of other combat vehicles in Ukraine, according to Oryx, a respected Dutch website trusted by military experts. .

Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia in a bid to force the Kremlin to withdraw the troops it sent to Ukraine on February 24.

The West has not sanctioned metal-producing companies, seeking to avoid supply shortages that would drive up prices for businesses and consumers around the world.

But the sanctions have targeted the shareholders of some of these companies, which have had to deal with an exodus of board members, difficulties in paying foreign debt, problems importing foreign equipment and to sharp declines in their stock prices.

Many banks, shippers and consumers have shunned any new investment in Russia and avoided handling Russian metal, forcing Russian companies to find new supply routes.

“There is no reason to believe that the behavior of our partners will fundamentally change,” Putin said.

“We need to make changes to the production structure and supply of Russian metallurgical products,” he said, calling for an expansion of industrial capacity and the range of Russian-made products.

Putin said “illegal” restrictions imposed by the West had cut off markets for Russian finished goods and prevented Russian producers from buying components.

He said it was against World Trade Organization rules and called on his government to update Russia’s strategy at the WTO.

The Kremlin calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” the country. kyiv and its Western allies dismiss these arguments as a false pretext for an unprovoked attack.

(Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Macfie)

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